Better than 11 tons of granite were delivered to the Chesterton Cemetery on
Friday, dropped lightly into place by a 30-ton crane.
It’s a new columbarium—a vault for the internment of ashes—and Chesterton
Cemetery Association President Hugh Hopkins is very excited about the
“With burial spaces becoming more sparse and people more conscious of the
environment, cremations are becoming more common and now account for over 20
percent of burials,” Hopkins told the Chesterton Tribune.
The 22,500-pound octagonal columbarium—completely clad in granite, with
black granite panels picked out by moonlight gray granite trim and accented
with bronze rosette hangers—has 60 double niches in ranks of five, with
potential space for 120 final resting places. Manufacturer: Granite Bronze,
a division of the Cold Spring Memorial Group of Cold Spring, Minn.
The new columbarium is both handsome and dignified. It’s also needed, as the
existing columbarium—a smaller one—is nearly full, with only a few niches
left and none of those adjoining, Cemetery Office Manager Cheryl Bachman
When all is said and done—when the concrete work is completed, including the
40-inch deep foundation, and the site is landscaped—the investment will
total around $30,000. That cost will be recouped through the sale of niches
by the Chesterton Cemetery Association, which Hopkins notes is not—as
some folks mistakenly think—a municipal body at all but comparable instead
to a property owners association.
“It’s like buying a grave in the ground,” Hopkins said. “You buy a niche. A
plaque will go on the outside. Families can choose the plaques, of course.
Some are single niches. Some are double ones.”
The new columbarium is sited at the extreme southeastern corner of the
cemetery, with a lovely view of the lake to the south. “We’ll do some
landscaping, maybe put in some benches,” Cemetery Association Office Manager
Cheryl Bachman said. “It’ll look beautiful by the lake. This is a perfect
“This is a big event for us,” Hopkins added. “More and more people are
opting for columbarium burial. It’s more environmentally friendly and takes
very little room.”